One of the core conflicts of Hero Generations is the choice between venturing out into the world to achieve personal fame, or working to make the world a better place for your children. I want to describe the game systems that drive that latter half of this choice: town crafting and town culture.
Towns and Buildings
Towns are structures that occupy a single grid space on the map. A town’s primary purpose is to house mates that you can try to woo and have a child with. The 4 adjacent spaces next to a town are always cleared, and are occupied by “build locations.” When your hero walks over one of these special build locations, a menu appears with a bunch of choices for buildings you can add to the world. These buildings cost gold, but they have special behaviors and exist in the world across many generations. Some examples of buildings:
Farm: produces 500 gold every 5 years.
Barracks: gives your hero +2 strength when visited.
Observatory: reveals 4 random unexplored spaces around the world when visited.
The buildings around towns are more important than just the individual benefits they provide. The town itself is influenced by all of the buildings that surround it, and the combination of buildings that are adjacent can cause the town to morph into an entirely new structure. Three farms around a town will cause the Town to transform into a “Ranch.” Three Barracks around a town cause it to transform into a Fortress. There are a huge number of combinations of 2-4 buildings around a town that can result in transformations, and a lot of the fun is experimenting and discovering all of the town types that can be crafted.
So what is the benefit of transforming a town? A transformation reflects an influence the surrounding buildings have had on the town culture. This culture change results in some big benefits for your hero. For example, when a Barracks is placed next to a town, it causes the mates in the town to take on the Warrior trait (which when passed onto your hero, gives you bonus attack in combat). In addition, towns provide a special “tribute” every 10 years. A tribute is typically an item or bonus your hero can pickup if you return to the town. Depending on town type, that tribute can become a powerful sword, an influx of gold, a raft, or even a map that reveals the location of ancient treasures.
Most importantly, these changes are permanent and last across generations of heroes. A new child born into a town with a strong culture will quickly grow and gain benefits, so that they can achieve greater heights than their parents.
Focusing on only building up towns however would make for a dull game, so there are consequences that are introduced as your towns grow. The mates in your town become more desirable, but their requirements for mating with your hero grow in tandem. The prince of a kingdom will only mate with other wealthy heroes; a warrior mate will desire a hero of great strength. As well, other heroes and monsters will be attracted to prospering towns, requiring you to fend off intruders and protect what you've built.
By offering these long term benefits from nurturing towns, you will be forced to think carefully about how you spend your time. Just as you can selfishly spend your years building up the fame of your heroes, you can also waste your years staying close to home, only to see other heroes in the world steal your glory, and the monsters grow beyond your capability to keep your family safe. The best players will learn to find a balance between personal achievement and spending time at home.
I hope you found that deep dive into town crafting interesting. My next kickstarter design article will focus on hero traits and the mating game. Be sure to back the project now to help us get the game made!